With the recent release of The Onion’s new satirical publication, Clickhole, the social webs have finally taken a good look in the mirror. Is Internet society mindlessly clicking and sharing interest-piquing articles for the sake of clicking and sharing them? You betcha it is.
Rather than letting you fall victim to the horrors of articles that are just content for the purpose of selling ad space, MakeUseOf wants you to know when you’re being conned into reading something that just… isn’t that great. Or is pure fluff. Or is just simply words to fill space. (Like this article!)
Below are our ten signs that you’ve fallen for click bait.
10. You Clicked on This Article
Come on, dude. You clicked this article without even thinking. You probably click all kinds of articles. You’re a click-addict. It’s okay, though. We’re going to get you out of it. Well, we probably won’t, but we’ll make you think for at least a minute we will.
(Note how ridiculously simple that paragraph was? It was really short, too. That’s the problem with click bait articles. They don’t have any meat.)
9. The Article Was Already On Reddit — In OC Form
If you’re a regular Redditor (and a lot of our staff members are), you’ll notice that some of the top posts have comments that are literary comic genius. Unfortunately, many click bait sites think so, too. So they will copy a lot of the content either word for word or in spirit. This leads us to our next point…
8. It Wasn’t On Reddit, And It Still Isn’t Original
On click bait articles, you’re going to see quite a few clichés and tropes and repetitive content. Most of the stuff will have been written before on either another click bait site or totally ripped from an existing reputable source.
Sometimes — as in the case of Reddit — click bait posts revolving completely around images directly copy the images from another post. Something like 10 Pictures of the Cutest Puppies You’ll See Today may be totally lifted from Reddit’s top 10 r/Aww posts. It sucks.
7. The Attempt At Humor Is Ridiculously Hopeless
Yep. These articles will try to pack in jokes that seemingly cater to the plebeians of the Internet. They aren’t funny. They never will be funny. Actually, they would be funny to one person: your grandmother. She also would likely forward them to you via mail after printing them off her Apple II home computer.
6. Large Pictures Make Up Most Of The Article
Seriously, the word counts on these pieces are minimal. They stuff loads of big pictures in the article to make it seem like you are reading something big and stuff. But you aren’t. They just stretch out four-sentence paragraphs as much as they can, and you read them thinking it’s actually literature. NO. STOP.
5. You Can’t Tell The Ads From Links To Other Articles
Look all over the page. Is that a link to an article? No. It’s an ad. Actually no, it’s an article! Woops. Wait. It’s a link to an article on another click bait site… which is in turn bringing in more ad revenue. Ugh.
4. It’s A Countdown
You’ve seen it here… We’ve almost counted down to ten… and there’s not much content in this piece, is there?
3. The Author Gets Lazy Towards The End
He really does.
2. You Say “So True” To At Least One Section Of The Article
Just look back over this piece. Even though you don’t want to, you’re going to end up saying, “Well. Yeah. He’s right here. Sigh.”
1. You End Up Sharing It For Whatever Reason
Yeah. Some of you will share this. Some of you will share this thing before you even finish it. Some of you will comment saying, “Lame article,” and that’s another sign you’re on click bait. Heck. You may have read it because someone else shared it.
You poor, poor soul. Sorry…